WHILE Rural Fire Service (RFS) personnel aren’t fighting any bushfires locally as yet, they admit they’re worried about this week’s predicted hot weather conditions.
The Tamworth and Liverpool Plains areas have no bushfires or grass fires burning.
Namoi/Gwydir firefighters were at the weekend patrolling a fire at Oakdale Ln in Narrabri that is under control, but expected temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius for the next week have them on high alert.
Tamworth has a high fire danger rating in place.
Liverpool Plains Inspector Chris Hobton said everyone was worried.
“The RFS has aircraft on contract and they are dotted around the place,” he said. “They are located where head office feels they are most needed and they’re on standby.”
Inspector Brett Loughlin from the Namoi/Gwydir region said it had been a quiet weekend, but he had spoken to the brigades about the dangers of the predicted relentless hot weather.
The region has a high to very high fire danger rating.
“They’re aware of the situation and we’re looking at supporting other operations elsewhere in the state,” he said. “They’re ready and prepared and have been thoroughly briefed, which is the same across the region.”
He said the RFS also had aircraft on five- to 15-minute standby but wouldn’t have aircraft in the air to spot fires unless there were lightning strikes in the area.
“The aircraft are pretty quick to get up and going,” he said. “On Wednesday they’re talking 43 degrees.
“The last time we saw similar conditions was the week in early December when the whole region experienced fires, but we had thunderstorms then, too. There is no thunderstorm activity forecast, so that could be our saving grace.”
Inspector Loughlin was expected to be called elsewhere in NSW to help other regions fight fires this week.
Permits have been suspended in the New England and Northern Tablelands, due to the increased risk of fires, because of grass and vegetation growth in the area.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s prediction is for high winds from the north-west, increased temperatures produced by the heatwave and very low rainfall.
No total fire bans were in place in these regions as of yesterday afternoon.